Today, a student approached me and shared a story with me regarding something he witnessed on the driving range earlier at another golf course. There, the golf instructor was giving a lesson to a young lady who seemed to be just picking up the game. My student discussed how he could tell the lady was somewhat new to golf, and had many questions about the fundamentals of golf. The professional, apparently having a prior agenda for this student, wasn’t even answering her questions and was having her practice motions she didn’t seem comfortable with making. Little explanation was given and she seemed displaced and clueless.

Although this professional is a good player, this does not necessarily mean that he is a good instructor. Playing the game and teaching are two different worlds within the game of golf and that must be remembered when both giving and receiving instruction. Just because someone is a great player does not automatically make them a great instructor, and just because someone isn’t a phenomenal player, doesn’t mean they cannot be an outstanding golf instructor.

When a lesson is being taught or received, here are three key-elements that must be evident

1. Proper Communication

Good communication is a foundational block of all relationships, be it parent-child, husband-wife, or student teacher. An instructor needs to choose their words extremely carefully to communicate precisely what they wish, and the student needs to communicate honestly and verify a certain level of acknowledgment and understanding. If there is not proper understanding, improvement will be achieved solely on a combination of luck and trail-by-error.

2. Simplicity

Golf can be very detailed and it can be extremely basic. Simplicity is a term that spans not just a way of communication, but also the process that is built through hours and hours of practice. Information can be conveyed in a simple, thorough manner. Goals can be outlined in a simple manner. Frustrations and concerned can be explained by their most basic elements. Golf information can be a bit overwhelming, be it swing dynamics, club fittings, or mental approaches and the more clear-cut the information can be explained, the better off all parties will be.

3. Create Solutions

Notice I did not use the word “fixes”. Some golf professionals will provide “band-aids” to swing flaws and never address the root of the problem. This “quick-fix” may work in the short-term, but by never addressing the root of the problem, the player will only be able to reach a certain playing ability before the “band-aid” falls off and they are left searching for more answers. Solve the root of the issue, and this will pay great dividends in the long run.

If you are a golf professional, be sure to keep these methods in your mind when you are seeking a golf instructor, be sure to find a professional who exemplifies these key traits.

What other areas are imperative to a successful lesson? Please share stories, thoughts, or suggestions.